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Bad cat at 110k? #5450876 06/10/20 09:50 PM
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Anduril Offline OP
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Wife got a check wallet light today in her Versa, scanned it and got the dreaded P0420. She's still got 3 years before her first required smog check, but the car only has 110k miles on it, has never had a misfire, and doesn't burn a significant amount of oil (1 qt in 5k miles max).

Is this all we can expect out of cats these days? My Camry still has the original cat at 170k despite being one of those oil-drinking 2AZ-FEs, to the point that it made visible smoke before I replaced the engine. Her old Cavalier made it to almost 250k on the original cat.

I've had to replace them on the Mustang and XTerra, but both were due to misfires.

Last edited by Anduril; 06/10/20 09:51 PM.

2015 Nissan Versa Note 1.6/5MT
2012 Toyota Tacoma 2.7/4AT
2007 Toyota Camry 2.4/5AT
2005 Nissan XTerra 4x4 4.0/6MT
2002 Mustang GT Convertible 4.6/5MT
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900
2013 Hyosung ST7
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450881 06/10/20 09:56 PM
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bbhero Offline
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Question I have is if the fuel is running/burning too rich and sending unburnt fuel into the cats downstream??

If it is not from the oil burning part... A unburnt fuel problem maybe??

I'd bet newer vehicles with cats are not as well suited for oil burning circumstance either... like the older ones like my lady's 98 Camry.


Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe
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"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450885 06/10/20 10:01 PM
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Anduril Offline OP
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Being a 5 year old vehicle you'd think it would set a CEL if it was running rich, especially rich enough to damage something. Can't be too rich as it never gets less than 30 mpg mostly around town and 40+ on the freeway if we can avoid traffic.


2015 Nissan Versa Note 1.6/5MT
2012 Toyota Tacoma 2.7/4AT
2007 Toyota Camry 2.4/5AT
2005 Nissan XTerra 4x4 4.0/6MT
2002 Mustang GT Convertible 4.6/5MT
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900
2013 Hyosung ST7
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450903 06/10/20 10:18 PM
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bbhero Offline
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May not set off a cel though... Just rich enough long term to cause a issue with the catalytic converter but not enough to actually have a code appear...

That could well need a scan tool to actually see the problem.. looking at both short term and long term fuel trims...

Or it is from burning that oil...


Last edited by bbhero; 06/10/20 10:18 PM.

Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe
Royal Purple 10w30 Carquest red 84356
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450912 06/10/20 10:24 PM
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Anduril Offline OP
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Is 1 qt/5k a lot? It's done that pretty much since new without getting any worse, and from what I've read here, it seems that's normal on newer cars.


2015 Nissan Versa Note 1.6/5MT
2012 Toyota Tacoma 2.7/4AT
2007 Toyota Camry 2.4/5AT
2005 Nissan XTerra 4x4 4.0/6MT
2002 Mustang GT Convertible 4.6/5MT
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900
2013 Hyosung ST7
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450914 06/10/20 10:26 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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clear the code and see if it comes back smile

If you do need a new cat, get Walker #84205 if it's the rear cat, or #84101 for the front cat. They are California-legal universal cats (cut and weld). Rock Auto carries both, but you have to search by part number.; they don't show up when searching by year/make/model because they're "universal" parts. You can use them because rust isn't a problem where you are.

Also replace the oxygen sensors along with the converter.

1 quart per 5k is no problem at all.

Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450915 06/10/20 10:29 PM
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Anduril Offline OP
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Can't use "universal" cats here. [Censored]fornia. I was going to replace both O2 sensors before doing anything with the cat because at over 100k I'm sure they're lazy and it might help pick up an mpg orntwo anyways.


2015 Nissan Versa Note 1.6/5MT
2012 Toyota Tacoma 2.7/4AT
2007 Toyota Camry 2.4/5AT
2005 Nissan XTerra 4x4 4.0/6MT
2002 Mustang GT Convertible 4.6/5MT
2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900
2013 Hyosung ST7
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450916 06/10/20 10:34 PM
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slacktide_bitog Offline
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Originally Posted by Anduril
Can't use "universal" cats here. [Censored]fornia. I was going to replace both O2 sensors before doing anything with the cat because at over 100k I'm sure they're lazy and it might help pick up an mpg orntwo anyways.


You can indeed use universal cats as long as they are CARB-approved. Check out California's official aftermarket catalytic converter database. Universal cats show up as approved and appear on the list. They even give you a link to the EO that authorizes them smile

It seems like the direct fit cats have both of them in one assembly.

Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450925 06/10/20 11:07 PM
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DeafBrad Offline
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Are you sure your cat is bad? While the common problem is the cat is bad, there are other reasons for getting a po420. I got a po420 in my van and cleaning out my egr passages fixed that problem.


2011 Think City Electric Car
Geo XFI 50+ mpg
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Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5450962 06/11/20 01:14 AM
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bbhero Offline
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I agree... That 1 qt per 5,000 miles is not a lot...


Unlike the 98 Camry my lady has that burns through a qt every 3,000 miles typically...


But every motor is different... And possibly a newer motor/catalytic converter may not be as ok with burning oil as one may think... Candidly that just pure speculation on my part obviously.

If you had 0 oil burning issue then it would led one to believe it more than likely was a fuel burning circumstance or maybe a bad oxygen sensor...

Or possibly what deafbrad mentioned above... Certainly could just be that...

I hope whatever it is it is not anything serious...

I had to replace my catalytic converters on my car at 240,000 miles.... $1,550.

Last edited by bbhero; 06/11/20 01:16 AM.

Nissan Altima 3.5 Coupe
Royal Purple 10w30 Carquest red 84356
"Treat your family like your friends and treat your friends like your family."
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5451005 06/11/20 05:50 AM
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CAT failure is a symptom of a another engine issue. I wouldn't be surprised if the new converter has a similiar short life. CATS should practically last the life of the vehicle provided the engine is running correctly.


The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5451023 06/11/20 06:13 AM
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madRiver Offline
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The CAT may be culprit but so can many other things. Code never equals throwing parts, you need diagnosis.

That all being said in my ownership of a 2007 MDX from 2011(84k) they 2020 (200k) I got this particular code 3 times. Guess what I did? smile Drove on it turned off within a week or so and cropped back every 3 years.

Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5451055 06/11/20 07:20 AM
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supton Offline
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Maybe it's worth looking the O2 sensors, make sure they are working properly, and/or looking for other fueling problems? I've heard of O2 sensors getting lazy and "worn out" but it seems like, most of the threads about cat's and P0420, a new cat is what is required.

While it might not be a part with anything moving in it, it is still an item that can break. How or why some give up earlier than others is something I haven't a clue about. You read about some cars going forever with oil burning and whatnot, while someone has one fail at just outside emissions warranty. shrug

Hopefully it's a cheap repair.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 206k
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 160k
2003 CRV, 2.4L/4AT, 161k
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k
Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5451084 06/11/20 07:51 AM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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Cat may be good.but requiring a burnofff. Does the car get run hard enough to clean the cat?

You say it is mainly driven around town.

I'd work up to some pretty aggressive WOT "Datona 500" runs on the highway to clean that puppy , er kitty out.

Really. Floored at/near redline in O/D OFF a couple minutes worth in 5-7 second spurts out there in the mix.

Then remove and clean the MAF, and lightly spray the throttle where it seats, cloth wipe. Reassemble.

Make sure you have a low restriction air filter, not a high efficiency one.

If that doesn't work the telltale sensor may be fouled.

Lastly the cat. But Last.

- Ken

Last edited by ARCOgraphite; 06/11/20 07:54 AM.

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Re: Bad cat at 110k? [Re: Anduril] #5451085 06/11/20 07:53 AM
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GMBoy Offline
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Do the O2 spacer trick, clear the code - done. That buys you plenty of time to consider replacing a C/C. The P0420/430 code sets at a low 10% thresehold of effiecency loss.

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